Fuzhou: Men’s doubles heavyweights and No. 2 seeds Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong of Malaysia were sent crashing out of the China Open in a 21-19, 16-21, 22-24 defeat to unseeded China’s Zhang Nan/Liu Cheng on Wednesday.
Goh/Tan who took over the World No. 1 ranking after Lee Yong Dae-Yoo Yeon Seong of South Korea have retired from international competition, showed great resilience over the Chinese pair before losing the match by a very narrow margin in 76 minutes.
Zhang/Liu will play Or Chin Chung/Tang Chun Man of Hong Kong in the second round.
In addition to Goh/Tan, another Malaysian pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong also exited in the first round of China Open after losing to No. 3 seeds Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding of Denmark 21-19, 17-21, 13-21 in 64 minutes. The Danish pair held a career 2-0 record against the Malaysian pair after Wednesday’s match up. The last time they met was at the 2016 Syed Modi International Badminton Championships in February where Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding overcame Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong 9-21, 21-17, 16-21 in 60 minutes.
Meanwhile, China’s Japan Open men’s doubles champions Liu Yuchen/Li Junhui were also defeated by Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi of Japan.
India’s women’s singles ace Saina Nehwal who was back on the court three months after early exit in Rio Olympics due to severe knee injury, was sent packing by Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk with a 16-21, 21-19, 14-21 first round loss in 58 minutes.
“It feel really good to be back. Although I lost in the first round, but I am satisfied with my performance, considering this was the first tournament I played after two and half months since my surgery,” said Nehwal.
Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan who won women’s doubles titles at the recently concluded French Open and Bitburger Open, were struggling to maintain their top forms after succumbing to Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto of Japan 19-21, 21-9, 17-21 in 72 minutes.
On the other hand, Malaysia’s women’s doubles pair Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei needed only 26 minutes to beat Xiao Min Lin/Wu Fang Chien of Taiwan in straight sets, 21-8 and 21-10. Hoo/Woon are set to take on No. 2 seeds Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan of South Korea who got a bye in the first round.
In men’s singles, No. 2 seed Chen Long advanced to the second round easily after Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia retired from the match when Chen was leading 17-5 in the first set. Chen Long will play the French Open and Bitburger Open champion Shi Yuqi next.
Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin became the sole Malaysian men’s singles player left in the tournament after dispatching Lin Yu Hsien of Taiwan, 19-21, 21-15 and 21-11. Zainuddin will meet with Guo Kai of China who beat Kazumasa Sakai of Japan, 21-14, 11-21 and 21-5 in another first round match.